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Dartis, Vander Plas lead Bobcats past Chippewas

Ohio snaps seven-game losing streak against Central Michigan

ATHENS – Jordan Dartis scored 27 points, and Ohio snapped a seven-game losing streak to Central Michigan with a 77-69 victory Tuesday night at The Convo.

Dartis knocked down 7 of 12 3-pointers and got plenty of help from Ben Vander Plas, who had 13 of his 17 points in the second half and added seven rebounds. Jason Preston had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Lunden McDay finished with six points for the Bobcats (13-13, 5-8 Mid-American Conference).

Kevin McKay paced the Chippewas (13-12, 6-6 MAC) with 23 points, with Rob Montgomery adding 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Ohio’s last win against Central Michigan was in 2014.

"At halftime, we were down six," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "We missed some layups, had nine turnovers, missed some wide open threes and we just told them to stay positive and pick themselves up. We made some adjustments and the guys did a great job ad carrying that out. They did a great job closing out the game."

In a close game throughout the second half, a Vander Plas 3-pointer tied the game at 53 with 10:41 remaining. Sylvester Ogbonda’s putback gave the Bobcats a 55-53 lead.

Then with the game tied at 57, McDay gave Ohio the lead for good with a 3-pointer with 6:25 to go. Vander Plas made a free throw, and Ogbonda – who had four fouls - had back-to-back blocked shots of McKay, leading to a shot clock violation. He was rewarded on the other end with a dunk to make it 63-57.

After a Chippewas basket, Vander Plas hit another 3-pointer to put the Bobcats up 66-59. McKay scored on the other end, but Dartis hit from deep and then a Dartis steal led to a McDay dunk to make it 71-61 with 1:29 remaining.

Central Michigan closed its deficit to 71-67 on a David DiLeo 3-pointer, but Ohio closed out the game at the foul line.

The Chippewas had closed out the first half with a 7-0 run to take a 33-27 lead, and they took their biggest lead at 39-31 on a McKay dunk following a steal. Preston answered with five straight points.

Vander Plas finished the game with seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Ogbonda had only six points but pulled down 11 rebounds.

The Bobcats were 13 of 27 from long range while holding the Chippewas to 4-of-22 shooting from beyond the arc. MAC all-time 3-point leader DiLeo was just 1 of 3 from beyond the arc and scored just nine points. Central Michigan is 0-11 when scoring less than 80 points.

"We've won three of our last four, and we've done it on the defensive end all three games," Boals said. "We did tonight what we did against Western and Miami and what we didn't do at Kent State."

Ohio faces Bowling Green at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Stroh Center.

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